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Re: Newbie Monk Seeking Enlightenment

by footpad (Monsignor)
on Jan 18, 2001 at 01:22 UTC ( #52618=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Newbie Monk Seeking Enlightenment

Welcome to the Monastery, one of my favorite waypoints on the Perl Way.

I think that some of the resistance you're seeing to your idea is based on the unstated goal that much of the entire place is intended to be a "nice place" for newbies, apprentices, and masters alike.

In addition to the advice you've already received (and to possibly generate some further discussion), here are a few of the so-called unwritten rules that I've noticed (in no particular order):

  • When posting nodes, be sure you post them in the right place. What section should I put this in? tells you what you need to know.

  • While some off-topic (e.g. non-Perl) discussion is tolerated, it's best to limit that as much as possible. Remember, we're here to further our understanding of Perl. If you're in doubt, float the idea via CB (as I presume you did on this one) and see what the response is.

  • The Monastery is not /. or comp.lang.perl.misc. Personal attacks are strongly discouraged, profanity slightly less so. Keep it clean, professional, and to the point and you'll do well.

  • Please do your research before posting. Many "newbie" questions have been asked before, though possibly in slightly altered fashion. Use Search, Super Search, and the perldoc command to see if your petition has already been covered.

  • Do not post homework questions. It's called homework for a reason. Assistance can often be found in earlier posts.

  • Do not be afraid to ask for clarification on something that's not making sense. Many of your peers enjoy helping others understand; take advantage of that...but not of them.

  • When posting code, a) do not forget your <CODE> tags, b) do your level best to simplify the code to its smallest reproducible case, and c) provide enough information for a reasonable person to understand what you're after and why you're not getting it.

    For example, if you're getting error messages, tell us what they are. Don't just give us a dump, though. Filter through them, find the most relevant ones, and then provide the summary.

  • It also helps to ask specific rather than general questions. For example, "How do I use Perl to populate a web page from my database?" is more likely to get an abrupt RTFM than something along the lines of "I'm trying to use CGI.pm to save form input into a mySQL table via DBI. I've run into this problem..."

  • Provide credit where it's due. If you get (or find) a good bit of code, don't claim it as your own.

  • Take time to read highly-regarded nodes. You will learn much about the community at large and what it responds to.

  • XP and Reputation are meant to be feedback devices or even conceits. Don't take them too seriously. At some point, you will probably post something that hits Worst Nodes or that loses XP. Learn from it, follow-up if you like, and move on.

  • When following up on points raised in replies to your messages, it's considered good practice to update the original post instead of posting a follow up message. (This is especially true with typos, coding errors, and related stuff.)

    Use your judgment on this, but Updated nodes tend to fare better than follow-up replies. Also, It's not entirely necessary to post "Thank you" replies. A simple /msg via CB can be just as effective.

  • At some point, you'll probably realize that you can log the CB or be tempted to quote it directly. Do not do this without the person's prior (and explicit) permission. Many of the monks use the CB as a sounding board or a common area. Also, it's far too easy to take such comments out of context.

  • While it's possible that you'll find a bug in Perl, it's not likely. If you run into such a situation, take a second look at the assumptions that led you to the code in question. Often, you'll find that the behavior you've found is correct and that you need to adjust your mental understanding accordingly. (I like to think of those moments as opportunities to learn.)

  • Do search CPAN for helpful modules and use the ones that are frequently mentioned here, such as CGI.pm. Especially if they're mentioned by the higher level members of the community.

  • If a post does get criticized, remember that criticism often relates to the post, not the poster. In other words, there are some very experienced people here and a few have little patience for seeing people make the same mistakes over and over. (Attempts to rewrite CGI.pm come to mind.)

  • As Blue mentioned, start reviewing the home nodes of the higher level monks. Many contain links to extremely educational material. I wholeheartedly second his suggestion.

  • Enjoy yourself, but not at the expense of others. Yes, this is restating some of the things I mentioned earlier, but remember that your peers are professionals who participate for a variety of altruistic reasons. Respect that.

At lot of these ideas have been expressed earlier, often far more succinctly and eloquently. You'll find many of these on the home nodes Blue mentioned. Here are a few to get you started: Turnstep, ybiC, Ovid, tilly, and (of course) merlyn.

Again, feel free to participate; that's what the community is for.

--f

Update:  Added a couple of points stemming from CB feedback; also, fixed a few typos.


Comment on Re: Newbie Monk Seeking Enlightenment
Re: Re: Newbie Monk Seeking Enlightenment
by PsychoSpunk (Hermit) on Jan 19, 2001 at 22:16 UTC
    I want to touch on a couple points of footpad's.

    While some off-topic (e.g. non-Perl) discussion is tolerated, it's best to limit that as much as possible. Remember, we're here to further our understanding of Perl. If you're in doubt, float the idea via CB (as I presume you did on this one) and see what the response is.

    Almost two points to remember on this:

    1. OT posts should be labeled as such. I'd like to believe that my (OT) Apache Server issue post demonstrates the finer points of an OT post. It has some relation to what I am doing in Perl, although it is not related to actual Perl code.
    2. Responses to OT posts should be limited to helping out with the problem. If you have a problem with an OT post, -- it and be done with it. If you absolutely have to make a point to the author, /msg him/her. Of course, this is just a peeve of mine in relation to the above node.

    For example, if you're getting error messages, tell us what they are. Don't just give us a dump, though. Filter through them, find the most relevant ones, and then provide the summary.

    footpad forgot the golden rule, even though it's written everywhere: use strict and -w. Update: In case you're throwing out some CGI code, -T is an option that I shouldn't have had to be reminded about. :) Thanks, footpad for keeping me on my toes. End Update

    And there are a few things I'd like to add:

    • Accept the fact that you aren't the best programmer. This is important if you post code. Your code is going to get reviewed since this is a public forum. People are going to give you pointers on how to do something better. This is not a personal attack. merlyn's been doing this far longer than you have.
    • The best thing to do if you find yourself in a flame war is to throw buckets of water into the discussion. Pride is only useful if you wish to be proud of yourself. Piss off the wrong people and that's nothing to be proud of.
    • footpad mentions the Search and Super Search. I'm going to mention the Random Node. If you're not here for a particular reason, then go find a reason to be here. I'm not saying that every visit to PM has to have a reason, but that if you're bored and want to learn, this may have some acceptable side effects.
    • Make friends with those above and below you. I see more coteries formed in the CB than anywhere else. And it's always nice to know that if you are needing a few points, those people will be willing to help with a level up (your welcome, Lexicon). P.S. the other users is in XP order.
    That's just some of my extra thoughts to throw out. ++ to footpad for sharing the secret to his success. :)

    ALL HAIL BRAK!!!

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